The Las Vegas Raiders released wide receiver Henry Ruggs III on Tuesday night following his involvement in a predawn vehicle crash that left a woman dead.
Ruggs faces felony charges of driving under the influence of alcohol resulting in death and reckless driving, court records show. He was released from a hospital and taken to jail earlier Tuesday ahead of an initial court appearance scheduled on Wednesday.
Ruggs, 22, and his passenger were hospitalized with unspecified injuries that police said did not appear life-threatening after the Chevrolet Corvette he was driving slammed at high speed into the rear of a Toyota Rav4 on a busy thoroughfare in a residential area several miles west of the Las Vegas Strip about 3:40 a.m. Tuesday.
The Toyota burst into flames and the driver and her dog died, police said.
Ruggs “showed signs of impairment,” police said in a statement that did not identify the woman who died, the injuries that Ruggs or his passenger received or name Ruggs’ passenger, who remained hospitalized.
Police are prohibited by federal privacy law from disclosing medical information, said Officer Larry Hadfield, a department spokesman.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson did not immediately respond to messages about the charges.
Probation is not an option in Nevada for a conviction on a charge of DUI causing death, which carries a possible sentence of two to 20 years in state prison. The possible sentence for reckless driving is one to six years in prison, with probation available.
Ruggs’ attorneys, David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld, said they are investigating the crash on behalf of their client “and ask everyone to reserve judgment until all the facts are gathered.”
Chesnoff declined additional comment after Ruggs was released from University Medical Center and booked into the Clark County Detention Center.
The Raiders didn’t wait for the courts to act, sending out a brief statement Tuesday night announcing Ruggs’ release. The Raiders had issued a statement earlier in the day saying the team was aware of the crash, “devastated by the loss of life,” and “in the process of gathering information.”
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy issued a statement saying, “Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the victim of this horrific tragedy. We will continue to gather facts and monitor the matter under our policies, but our thoughts at this time are with those impacted by this devastating incident.”
The Raiders (5-2) were on their bye week but reported back to team headquarters on Monday before having an off day on Tuesday. They were scheduled to begin practicing Wednesday before Sunday’s game at the New York Giants (2-6).
Ruggs was the Raiders’ first-round draft pick in 2020 out of Alabama, No. 12 overall, and at the time, team owner Mark Davis said of the speedy wideout, “He was the only person I wanted in this draft.”
With 24 catches for 469 yards and two touchdowns, Ruggs’ 19.5 yards per catch average was second in the NFL among pass-catchers with at least 20 receptions.
Ruggs lost a childhood friend, Rod Scott, in a car accident in 2016, and Ruggs pays tribute to him by putting up three fingers — Scott wore No. 3 — to the sky after big plays.
ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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